October's Puzzler: Change Layout and Operating Procedures to Reduce Risk

October's Puzzler

We had a fire and resulting explosion in our gas storage facility. The fire turned out to be caused by relief valves popping off on individual liquefied-propane bottles stored in the sun on black top. The bottles are standard high pressure ones equipped with simple safety-relief valves vented to the atmosphere. They typically are stored in steel pallet racks side-by-side to maximize storage space. Our manager demands that we redesign the facility so that such an incident can never happen again. How can we change the layout and operating procedures of the area to reduce the risk to an absolute minimum?

Send us your comments, suggestions or solutions for this question by September 12, 2008. We’ll include as many of them as possible in the issue and all on www.ChemicalProcessing.com. Send visuals — a sketch is fine. E-mail us at ProcessPuzzler@putman.net or mail to ProcessPuzzler, Chemical Processing, 555 W. Pierce Road, Suite 301, Itasca, IL 60143. Fax: (630) 467-1120. Please include your name, title, location and company affiliation in the response.

And, of course, if you have a process problem you’d like to pose to our readers, send it along and we’ll be pleased to consider it for publication.

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